26 August 2014

New book: The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski

I am excited about the forthcoming publication of my friend Michael Yankoski's latest book The Sacred Year. It is a very fitting nudge to get me back to blogging here on Space for God. It may appear from the dearth of recent posts that I haven't been making much space for God in my life over the past couple of years. Actually I have, in bursts, like the 6-day spiritual retreat I took on the holy isle of Iona in June, but not on an everyday basis. The Sacred Year is a book that is essentially about making space for God: slowing down our lives enough to incorporate spiritual practices that deepen us, to counter the prevalent feeling that we're spread too thin.

I have read Michael's previous book Under the Overpass and really loved it. His writing style is fantastic, and it really challenged me. I've now read the introduction and sample chapter of The Sacred Year available here. It has Michael's same gripping prose and a depth of hard-earned wisdom that is remarkable for someone his age (29 when he wrote it).

Michael has placed himself in situations where he can be attentive to the wind of the Holy Spirit blowing through his sails, and has learned a great deal through those experiences. In Under the Overpass, he told about his few months of intentionally living as a homeless man in order to learn appreciation for the plight of the homeless. In The Sacred Year he shares the wisdom he has learned from an even longer experiment.

Michael had came to a point in his life where he was feeling spread too thin, "like butter that has been scraped over too much bread" (as he quotes from Tolkien). So he took himself off to a monastery to learn from the monks a rhythm of life that would allow him more balance and depth in his relationship with God. From there he committed to a year of working through various spiritual practices that are not commonly undertaken by Protestants. The first one (the only chapter available so far) is single-tasking, the practice of attentiveness. It is something that most of us, easily distracted in this hyper-connected online world, need to hear. His description of contemplating an apple was sheer joy. It reminded me of Robert Farrar Capon's chapter on contemplating an onion in The Supper of the Lamb.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book, which I will be able to do when the Kindle version ships to me on September 16. Check it out on Amazon.

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